Science & Environment

Goats and Soda
2:19 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Fist Bumps Pass Along Fewer Germs Than Handshakes

Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 5:15 pm

A few weeks ago, we took a look at nonverbal greetings around the world. In Japan, they bow. Ethiopian men touch shoulders. And some in the Democratic Republic of the Congo do a type of head knock.

But the American fist bump stood apart from the rest.

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Tue July 29, 2014

White House Says Delayed Action On Climate Change Could Cost Billions

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 11:04 am

In a report issued Tuesday, the White House warned that the cost of inaction when it comes to climate change outweighs the cost of implementing more-stringent regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Here's how Time boils down the White House's argument:

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Environment
5:05 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

This Albino Redwood Tree Isn't Dead — But It Came Close

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 7:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

And now a story about an extremely rare albino tree. If you pass it on the street, it might look dead. It's not dead. It was almost killed. But now it's going to survive thanks, in part, to this guy.

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National Security
1:19 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

To Stop Cheating, Nuclear Officers Ditch The Grades

First Lt. Patrick Romanofski (center) and 2nd Lt. Andrew Beckner (left) practice the launch of nuclear weapons. Promotions are now more strongly influenced by hands-on performance in this simulator.
R.J. Oriez U.S. Air Force

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:54 am

The young officers at F.E. Warren Air Force Base have an enormous job: to keep 150 nuclear-tipped missiles ready to launch at a moment's notice.

Understandably, they're expected to know exactly what they're doing.

Three times a month, they're tested on the weapons and the codes used to launch them. Anything less than 90 percent is a fail.

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Shots - Health News
12:41 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

With Men's Y Chromosome, Size Really May Not Matter

The human Y chromosome (left) holds the code for "maleness"; that's the X on the right.
Andrew Syred/Science Source

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 1:05 pm

Basic biology has it that girls are girls because they have two X chromosomes — the things inside cells that carry our genes. Boys are boys because they have one X and one Y. Recently, though, there's been a lot of debate in scientific circles about the fate of that Y chromosome — the genetic basis of maleness.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:19 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Where The Birds Are Is Not Where You'd Think

Robert Krulwich/NPR

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 7:33 pm

This is a trick question. Where would you expect to find the greatest variety of birds?

Downtown, in a city?

Or far, far from downtown — in the fields, forests, mountains, where people are scarce?

Or in the suburbs? In backyards, lawns, parking lots and playing fields?

Not the city, right?

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Goats and Soda
9:20 am
Mon July 28, 2014

How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor And Slavery

A child grabs sleep after a long day of labor in a struggling West African fishery.
Courtesy of Jessica Pociask, WANT Expeditions

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 5:45 pm

When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.

But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley say there's also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work, and more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.

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The Salt
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

A worker dries coffee beans at a coffee plantation in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, in February 2013.
Moises Castillo AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 3:23 pm

Outside the northern Guatemalan town of Olopa, near the Honduran border, farmer Edwin Fernando Diaz Viera stands in the middle of his tiny coffee field. He says it was his lifelong dream to own a farm here. The area is renowned for producing some of the world's richest arabica, the smooth-tasting beans beloved by specialty coffee brewers.

"My farm was beautiful; it was big," he says.

But then, a plant fungus called coffee rust, or roya in Spanish, hit his crop.

"Coffee rust appeared and wiped out everything," he says.

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Science
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Shifts In Habitat May Threaten Ruddy Shorebird's Survival

Guided by biologists, volunteers briefly catch, band and release some of Delaware's visiting red knots each spring to monitor the health of the species.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 12:01 pm

An intrepid bird called the red knot migrates from the southern tip of South America to the Arctic and back every year. But changes in climate along its route are putting this ultramarathoner at risk.

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Shots - Health News
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Why We Think Ignorance Is Bliss, Even When It Hurts Our Health

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:52 pm

Medical tests are rarely a pleasant experience, especially if you're worried that something could be seriously wrong. That's true even though we know that regular screenings and tests often help doctors catch issues early.

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